Less than a week ago, I read a blog post by George Couros, a principal in Alberta, about what Web 2.0 tools he’ll be focusing on using at school next year. I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog post lately. I also think that there are so many amazing tools out there, that it’s hard to use them all and use them all well. Since this year is almost over and I’m already starting to think about next year, here’s my list of essential Web 2.0 tools that I plan on using first with my students:
1) Blogs — Blogging is a great way to get students writing in a meaningful way. This year, I started with having a Grade 1 Blog (for all four Grade 1 classes), then a class blog, and then individual blogs. This allowed my students to communicate with an audience from early on while also giving them time to develop their writing skills.
2) Twitter — This year, my students loved to use Twitter for interactive writing, and they definitely benefitted from writing to an audience. As shown in their tweets, my students quickly learned about the importance of conventions and developing good ideas. I hope that next year’s group is equally as excited about using this tool to communicate with teachers and students from around the world!
3) GoogleDocs — While I do have regular access to the Grade 1 pod with eight working computers in it, these computers are all Sunset Image Computers, and you can’t save on them or print from them. This makes a word processor, such as Word, very difficult to use well. GoogleDocs is fantastic though! Students can save everything online, and even collaborate with each other on the same document. I have all of my students use a single GoogleDocs account that I set-up for them, and due to their age, this is the easiest thing to do. Folders make this system quite manageable.
4) VoiceThread — Some students find writing difficult, and oral language is definitely the backbone for all writing. This is why I like VoiceThread. Students can make written comments, audio comments, or audio and video comments. Differentiation is built right into the program, and it’s easy enough for all students to use too. I used VoiceThread a lot this year for self-assessment (a real Board push), and I plan on using it again next year too.
5) Glogster — I didn’t start using Glogster until later on this year, but I think that it’s a program with tremendous potential. It is great for creating media works, and since Media Literacy is becoming a big focus for next year, I think Glogster is the perfect tool to use. I also like how students can use Glogster collaboratively up on the SMART Board, which makes it perfect for literacy and math centres too.
I love so many Web 2.0 tools, and I know that I will use far more than just these ones, but these are what I plan as my “starting point tools.” What do you think? Is there anything that you would add or change? I would love to hear your thoughts on this!